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Labour Arbitration and Policy Conference

 
 
 
 

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In support of efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Lancaster House is moving the 2020 B.C. Labour Arbitration and Policy Conference online. Our virtual conference will meet the same high standards to which all Lancaster House events are held.

 

Thursday, December 3, 2020


Introductory remarks by Co-Chairs 9:15 AM - 9:30 AM  


Panel 1


2020 Vision: Key precedents from an unprecedented year

9:30 AM - 10:45 AM

Martina Boyd
Legal & Legislative Representative
Canadian Union of Public Employees
Eric Ito
Employer Counsel
Cooperwilliams Law
Robert Sider

Lawson Lundell
Lindsay Waddell
Union Counsel
Moore Edgar Lyster

Panel Summary

In this session, top advocates will review the year's most important cases and legislative developments, addressing issues such as entitlement to paid leave for COVID-related absences, the assessment of appropriate disciplinary penalties, and the appropriate forum to advance employment claims. Final selection of topics will take place in the weeks leading up to the conference, ensuring coverage of the latest and most important developments.

BREAK

10:45 AM - 11:00 AM

Thursday, December 3, 2020


Introductory remarks by Co-Chairs 9:15 AM - 9:30 AM  


Panel 2


Creative Remedies, Creative Procedures: A brainstorming session with the arbitrators

11:00 AM - 12:15 PM

Elaine Doyle
Arbitrator/ Mediator

Koml Kandola
Arbitrator/Mediator


Panel Summary

Persuasive oral advocacy and winning legal arguments are key to effective grievance arbitration, but what happens before and after the hearing can be just as critical to a successful outcome. In this session, attendees will gain insight into protocols for preparation and post-hearing remedies by working through scenarios and real-world examples with the guidance of leading arbitrators. Attendees will learn methods of minimizing costs, delays, and backlogs and hear about creative remedies arbitrators have awarded — or wished they had been asked to award — in grievances before them.

End of Day One

12:15 PM

Thursday, December 10, 2020


Introductory remarks by Co-Chairs 9:20 AM - 9:30 AM  


Panel 3


Remote Work in the wake of COVID-19: Exploring accommodation, privacy, productivity, and other critical issues

9:30 AM - 10:45 AM

Randy Noonan
Arbitrator/Mediator

Tonie Beharrell
Legal Counsel
Health Sciences Association of British Columbia
Natasha Jategaonkar
Employer Counsel
Mathews, Dinsdale & Clark

Panel Summary

While remote work was a growing trend before COVID-19, the global pandemic has abruptly ushered in "the world's largest work-from-home experiment." Employers, unions, and employees are confronting multiple issues related to the remote workplace, including accommodation of caregivers and supervision of remote workers. In this session, experts will provide guidance on the challenges facing workplace parties in this new era.

  • What are best practices to support the psychological and physical well-being of employees working remotely? What are reasonable employer expectations regarding employee availability during work hours and response time to e-mails during the pandemic?
  • What measures can/should employers put in place to supervise employees who work remotely? How should workplace parties approach a situation in which employees who are working remotely aren't as productive as they should be?
  • Do employers have a duty to accommodate employees experiencing stress or mental distress as a result of COVID-related conditions?
  • Should employers and/or unions proactively initiate communications with employees known to have mental health disabilities regarding possible deterioration or relapse? Could such contact be considered discriminatory or privacy-invasive?
  • How do existing legal principles regarding family status accommodation and undue hardship apply in the current environment, with the widespread shift to remote work and diminishing availability of childcare and eldercare supports?
  • Are employers still required to comply with their obligations under occupational health and safety legislation when an employee is working from home? What are some measures that they can put in place to satisfy these obligations? Should employers bear any costs related to remote work environments, and if so, which ones?
  • What provisions should be made for union communication with members working from home?

BREAK

10:45 AM - 11:00 AM

Thursday, December 10, 2020


Introductory remarks by Co-Chairs 9:20 AM - 9:30 AM  


Panel 4


Sick Leave and Return to Work: Practical advice on perennial concerns and emerging challenges

11:00 AM - 12:15 PM

Shona Moore
Arbitrator/Mediator

Hasan Alam
Staff Lawyer
B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union
Adriana Wills
Employer Counsel
Harris & Company LLP

Panel Summary

Employers and unions are regularly required to handle requests for sick leave and facilitate return to work while ensuring respect for employee privacy, preventing abuse, and fulfilling accommodation obligations. However, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, workplace parties have been grappling with a dramatic increase in health-related issues and unforeseen challenges relating to managing illness and recovery. In this session, experts will provide practical advice on sick leave and return to work in the extraordinary context of the current crisis, with a focus on the following topics:

  • What information can an employer legally require from employees who take sick leave? How have requirements for medical information changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • What leaves or benefits may be available to an employee who has contracted COVID-19? Are employees entitled to leave or benefits if they are self-isolating as a precaution, are subject to a mandatory quarantine, suspect they have been exposed to COVID-19 but are asymptomatic, or are caring for a family member who is ill?
  • How have employers amended their sick leave policies in light of the COVID-19 pandemic? What policies have been most effective in response to emerging challenges?
  • What must employers and unions do to protect employee privacy in the context of sick leave? How have obligations changed during the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • How can employers prevent abuse of sick leave without violating employees' privacy rights?
  • In what circumstances will arbitrators uphold the discharge of an employee for abusing sick leave? What is the potential liability faced by an employer who unjustly accuses an employee of sick leave fraud?
  • What are the obligations of the employer, the union, and the insurer (if applicable) to an employee who has been on sick leave for an extended period?
  • How should employers and unions communicate with employees on sick leave? What are the differences between appropriate contact and harassment?
  • What medical information is needed to facilitate a return to work? Can an employer require a negative COVID-19 test result prior to allowing an employee to return to work?
  • What are the key elements of a return-to-work plan? What special considerations may apply in returning an employee to work following recovery from COVID-19?
  • Are employees entitled to refuse returning to work due to a general fear of contracting COVID-19? What other health and safety concerns should employers and unions be prepared to address in relation to sick leave and return to work?

Conference Ends

12:15 PM

Keynote Speakers


Tuesday, December 1, 2020



Harassment Investigations: An in-depth session on policies and practices

9:30 AM - 3:30 PM

Jessica Bowering
Workplace Investigator
Southern Butler Price
Pamela Connolly
Employer Counsel
Ukrainetz Workplace Law Group
Nicole Price
Workplace Investigator
Southern Butler Price
Susanna Quail
Union Counsel
Allevato Quail & Roy

Workshop Summary

Allegations or incidents of workplace harassment can easily create a hostile work environment, damage an organization's reputation, and result in legal liability for workplace parties. With so much at stake for both employers and unions, ensuring that harassment investigations are correctly conducted is more important than ever. In this interactive workshop, experts will lead an in-depth session on policies and practices for effective harassment investigations, providing participants with the knowledge necessary to accomplish the following objectives:

  • Create and implement policies and procedures that effectively address sexual harassment
  • Ensure that the investigation complies with legal requirements
  • Select an appropriate investigator
  • Develop suitable safeguards to maintain confidentiality
  • Understand the union's role in the investigation
  • Disclose appropriate information relating to the complaint and the results of the investigation
  • Establish fair and effective processes for questioning witnesses and the parties involved

VIEW THE WORKSHOP AGENDA



CPD


Click here to find out more information regarding CPD and the hour requirements in your province.

Conference Sessions

  • This program has been approved by CPHR Alberta for 5 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hours.
  • This program has been approved by the Law Society of British Columbia for 5 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hours.
  • This program has been approved by the Chartered Professionals in Human Resources of British Columbia & Yukon (CPHR BC & YK) for 5 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hours.

Workshops

  • "Harassment Investigations: An in-depth session on policies and practices" has been approved by the Law Society of British Columbia for 4.5 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hours.